Wellington: The Australian white supremacist, who killed 51 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand last year, faced the survivors of his attack as his sentencing hearing got under way in Christchurch.
Brenton Tarrant is likely to be jailed for life for his actions, the BBC reported.
Tarrant pleaded guilty in March and was convicted of 51 murders, 40 attempted murders and one charge of terrorism.
Survivors and the family members of victims will speak during the hearing, which is expected to last for four days.
The hearing will take place at the courthouse in Christchurch, the city where Tarrant carried out the attacks in March 2019. The first session started on Monday morning,COVID-19 restrictions mean the main court room is relatively empty, and an additional seven overflow courts within the law complex in Christchurch are being used for survivors and relatives of those killed to follow the proceedings.
Tarrant, 29, who is from New South Wales, had previously denied the charges and was due to face trial in June, before reversing his plea. He now faces a minimum sentence of 17 years, but Justice Cameron Mander, the High Court judge presiding over the case, has the power to sentence him to a full life term with no parole – a sentence never before imposed in New Zealand.
More than 60 people will give in-person victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing. Some have travelled from overseas and undergone a two-week coronavirus quarantine in order to take part in the proceedings.